Three-Point Stance: Draft prospects, OL transfers, Big 12 breakouts
Rivals National Columnist Mike Farrell is here with his top NFL Draft prospects by position, the best offensive linemen transfers and five breakout players in the Big 12 for next season.
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1. THE TOP DRAFT PROSPECTS AT EACH POSITION
It’s getting closer, that annual right of passage in April called the NFL Draft and there is still a ton of debate as to which franchises will do what and how many trades we will see in the first round. There’s also a debate about the best players regardless of position and I’ll settle that for you with my best at each spot.
Quarterback: Trevor Lawrence, Clemson — A no-brainer and I’m not sure who is No. 2, although I like Justin Fields as a safer pick than Zach Wilson or Mac Jones and definitely over Trey Lance.
Running Back: Najee Harris, Alabama — This is an easy No. 1 for me as well as Harris is well above Travis Etienne and the North Carolina running back duo of Javonte Williams and Mike Carter.
Wide Receiver: Ja’Marr Chase, LSU — Another easy one for me with DeVonta Smith a relatively close No. 2, but Chase is a legend in the making with that size and athleticism.
Tight End: Kyle Pitts, Florida — OK, who’s No. 2 because this is simple. Pat Freiermuth? Probably.
Offensive Tackle: Penei Sewell, Oregon — He’s easily my guy over Rashawn Slater, Christian Darrisaw and the rest as Sewell has a rare combination of footwork and bend.
Offensive Guard: Alijah Vera-Tucker, USC — I think he could also play tackle in the NFL easily but as a guard he’s way ahead some others like Wyatt Davis.
Center: Creed Humphrey, Oklahoma — A tough call here but the knee injury to Landon Dickerson gives Humphrey the edge and someone could easily go on him at the end of the second round.
Edge Rusher: Kwity Paye, Michigan — Paye over Greg Rousseau for me as a pure edge rusher. I know some like Rousseau as a guy who can play inside at times but he’s a pure 7 or 5 tech to me and Paye flattens better and is more explosive.
Strongside Defensive End: Jaelen Phillips, Miami — He can rush the passer and stuff the run so he’s a strongside to me and ahead of Jayson Oweh by a mile.
Defensive Tackle: Christian Barmore, Alabama — This is a tough one but I’m going Alabama and Barmore slightly over Levi Onwuzerike from Washington.
Outside Linebacker: Micah Parsons, Penn State — Some have him inside but I’ve seen him pass rush since he was little and I prefer that and his length outside over Zaven Collins.
Inside Linebacker: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame — He lacks great size but he’s a quick twitch guy who can run and is way ahead of Nick Bolton.
Cornerback: Patrick Surtain, Alabama — When Caleb Farley’s back problem came to light it became between Surtain and Jaycee Horn for me.
Safety: Trevon Moehrig, TCU — This isn’t even close as I think he’s near a top-10 overall talent in the draft.
Specials: Jaylen Waddle, Alabama — Waddle’s ability in the return game is great but so is Rondale Moore’s but size wins out.
2. THE TOP OFFENSIVE LINE TRANSFERS HEADING INTO 2021
I continue my look at the top transfers in the country and have worked my way to arguably the most important plug and play spot: offensive line. Here’s my top 10.
1. Wanya Morris, Oklahoma — The former Tennessee standout has a chance to be a first team All American at Oklahoma, he’s that good.
2. Jahmir Johnson, Texas A&M — The Vols implosion is a national title contenders dream as Johnson can help offset some talented losses on the offensive line for the Aggies.
3. Obinna Eze, TCU — He’s still raw but not as raw as he was out of high school and the Memphis transfer has a chance to raise his stock in a huge way at TCU.
4. Doug Nester, West Virginia — The Rivals250 high school prospect is coming back home to WVU after choosing Virginia Tech out of prep. He’s an important cog in this offensive line immediately.
5. Zach Carpenter, Indiana — Carpenter was a bit of a reach for Michigan — not much of one but a little bit — and he’s going to be a great fit for a Tom Allen led team.
6. Bryan Hudson, Louisville — Hudson is another Rivals250 kid returning home as he chose Virginia Tech out of high school like Nester did. And Louisville really needs the OL help.
7. Ty’Kieast Crawford, Arkansas — Crawford is a familiar name to Arkansas fans as a former high school commit who de committed when Chad Morris was in the flaming hot seat. Grades were supposed to send him to JUCO but he cleared and landed at Charlotte a step below his talents. The massive lineman is perfect for Sam Pittman.
8. Jakari Robinson, Memphis — The Cincinnati transfer can play center or guard and that versatility is key for Memphis as they reload their OL.
9. Eric Wilson, Penn State — The Harvard transfer is a good one and will impact right away when he arrives on campus as the OL depth at Penn State isn’t great. He’s a surefire starter to me.
10. EJ Ndoma-Ogar, Missouri — The former Oklahoma commit was very raw but a hard worker out of high school and he should plug in at guard and could be a steal for Eli Drinkwitz.
3. BREAKOUT CANDIDATES IN THE BIG 12
And I’m wrapping up my Power Five list of potential breakouts next season with the Big 12. And all but one of these names may surprise you.
1. S Jaquan Amos, Iowa State — A player from the transfer portal heads my list and he didn’t even play in the spring but Amos will have a great chance to win the free safety job and provide depth at corner as a newcomer to the Big 12 and on a power team.
2. RB Zach Evans, TCU — We saw glimpses of the five star talent of Evans last season and we should see a full dose this year as a runner and pass receiver.
3. WR Troy Omiere, Texas — Many players from Texas could step up and stand out and Omiere may seem like an odd choice coming off an ACL tear that forced him to miss last season but with his size and a new quarterback he will be a very popular target as he is returning to form this spring.
4. RB Dominic Richardson, Oklahoma State — Richardson is in a very crowded running back group at OSU and an argument could be made that he’s behind a couple guys but I loved what I saw from his last year and his balanced skillset is closest to anyone in the group who could carry a bigger load.
5. TE Austin Stogner, Oklahoma — The elite tight end suffered a horrific injury last year that led to sepsis and honestly near death. Football was the last thing on the families mind but I’m an optimist and he and Spencer Rattler had such a great connection that if he’s ready for the season he’s going to be one of the comeback stories of college football.